World Cup fever hits Boston as Team USA tries to advance
They lined up outside the House of Blues for hours waiting to see their team play in the World Cup. Others went in search of Team USA jerseys for days, only to find a few too big or too small left on the racks.
Greater Boston soccer fans, and not just those cheering for America, have contracted a fever that peaks every four years with the World Cup, which is currently taking place in Brazil.
Before Sunday’s much anticipated USA vs. Portugal match, hundreds of people, some wearing American flag shirts and red, white and blue headbands, lined up along Lansdowne Street waiting to get into the House of Blues where a New England Revolution-sponsored watch party took place.
Jeff Stanwix and his two friends were the first in line. They got there at 2:30 p.m., more than two hours before the doors opened.
“Everybody can get on board with the World Cup,” said Stanwix, a Northeastern University student. “The Super Bowl is only in America, same with [Major League Baseball] and the World Series, but with soccer all barriers are down. Everybody goes for it.”
At Modell’s sporting goods store in Medford, the display of World Cup shirts and paraphernalia was hard to keep on the rack.
“We’ve run out of sizes already,” said Samantha Scionti, the store’s assistant manager. “A lot of different teams, too, not just the USA. People are definitely following their teams.”
Scionti said the store gets deliveries twice a week and has been trying to keep up. The most popular requests at her store have been for USA, Porugal, Italy and Brazil shirts and jerseys.
Before the store opened at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Scionti said that employees there had already received four calls from people inquiring about World Cup merchandise.
Anthony Sciaraffa didn’t call and was unfortunately disappointed when he arrived at Modell’s.
The Arlington resident walked into the store on Sunday looking for a Team USA jersey, but found a mostly empty rack. It was the third store Sciaraffa had gone to on Sunday in search of a jersey to wear for that night’s match.
“I’ve been to other stores and they’ve all been sold out – at least in my size,” he said.
Sciaraffa, wearing a blue Italia shirt, described himself as both a Team USA and Team Italy fan. He watched the most recent Italy match in the North End and planned to go out to watch Sunday night’s game.
Sciaraffa said he’s a soccer fan and rarely if ever watches other sports. He doesn’t mind the crowds and company that join him every four years.
“It’s a great sport. People don’t realize it,” he said. “They get hung up on it because of the low-scoring and because of the points. Once people get that, they have an appreciation for it.”
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.